1 NASCIO 2014 State IT Recognition Awards California Conservation Corps Corpsmember Recruiting System (CoRe) Category: Fast Track Cloud Computing Project Initiation Date: September 23, 2013 Project Completion Date: January 24, 2014 Rita Gass, Chief Information Officer
2 Section 2: Executive Summary The California Conservation Corps (CCC) is the oldest and largest conservation corps program in the nation, with a primary mission to develop a work ethic and job skills in young men and women through natural resource work throughout the state. In order to fulfill its mission, the CCC must actively recruit young adults, including veterans, as corpsmembers and enroll them into conservation programs managed by CCC. These programs require corpsmembers to, among other things, enroll in high school or college courses, engage in work and life-skills classes, and participate in on-the-job training assignments. The skills and relationships built through these activities assist corpsmembers transition from the CCC into the workforce. In three months, the CCC developed and deployed the Corpsmember Recruitment System (CoRe), thereby replacing a cumbersome, geographically limited, and transportation-intensive paper-based legacy system with a flexible, easy-to-use, and environmentally friendly cloud-based software solution. The new system has resulted in the CCC quadrupling the number of recruitment applications received while simultaneously saving money and increasing government transparency. Though the CCC is the first agency in California to deploy such a system, CoRe s development and benefits demonstrate that it is a model project that can be replicated in other government applications. CoRe supports the public policy goals of state leaders by: 1) Providing workforce development opportunities in critical fields, including: a. Energy-efficiency b. Drought response and mitigation c. Fire suppression and prevention d. Conservation (trail construction, fish habitat preservation, etc.) 2) Streamlining government processes 3) Meeting and exceeding human resources best practices 4) Reducing environmental impacts and greenhouse gases by eliminating paperbased and transportation-intensive processes 5) Improving security and confidentiality of sensitive data 6) Improving transparency in government operations 7) Making government programs more accessible to people with disabilities, those in lower economic groups, and/or those from rural communities pg. 2 June 2, 2014
3 Section 3: Business Problem and Solution: Problem The legacy recruitment systems, built and developed in 1989, severely limited CCC s ability to utilize current technology for candidate outreach and application management. Replacing it sought to resolve the following business problems: An Expanding Program Over the past several years, the CCC was directed to expand its corpsmember population. The recruitment outreach necessary to support this expansion could not be effectively managed without a web-based presence. In-Person Application Process The legacy system revolved around a manual application process that required candidates to apply in person. This limited the recruitment pool because it restricted the CCC s geographical reach and presented scheduling and transportation difficulties for potential candidates. Tracking Capacity The CCC often receives funding tied to programs for specific members of the population, such as veterans or economically disadvantaged youth. The legacy system did not capture or track information that could identify such candidates and thus limited the CCC s ability to meet and report on some of its funding obligations. Lack of Metrics The legacy system could not capture or track management information metrics or informatics necessary for effective and efficient staff training, marketing, and business development operations. Communication Gaps The manual/in person recruitment process prevented timely communication between candidates and recruiters and caused longer than desirable lead time to fill corpsmember openings. Such delays resulted in missed opportunities for both candidates and the CCC. Security Risks The legacy system was non-compliant with State and Federal security and privacy policies and regulatory laws. Solution CoRe is a web based application portal that allows candidates throughout California to review the CCC program descriptions and securely apply online 24/7. This cloud platform, although somewhat unusual for the State of California, lent itself to CCC s need to deploy quickly and cost effectively. Now that CoRe is in operation, CCC receives over 800 applications per month (compared to approximately 50 pre-core) from young adults throughout California. Once applications are submitted, CoRe provides automated workflow and communications tools to CCC s 24 recruiters. The highly effective and efficient communication tools allow recruiters and candidates to schedule interviews and follow up with each other. As positions open up, CoRe automatically changes the candidate status from wait-listed to enrolled in the program. CoRe captures pertinent application data such as candidate geographic and demographic characteristics, which are synthesized into a wide range of management reports. pg. 3 June 2, 2014
4 Initially, the CCC faced a challenge in communicating its unique recruitment needs to the vendor community. The most significant difference was between CCC s recruiting practices and those of the private sector, these difficulties include: 1) Screening is not based on resume or work experience, 2) CCC is an open-entry program; anyone who applies and meets the minimum qualifications and follows through with their recruiter has an opportunity to enroll in the program, and 3) Candidates apply for residential (room and board provided) and non-residential placements. CCC overcame these challenges by developing detailed requirements specifications for inclusion in a Request for Offer (RFO). Vendors were required to indicate whether the specified requirements were: 1) Available in the current version of the solution, 2) Slated for a future release and, if so, the projected release date, 3) Could be met with customization, or 4) Not available. The evaluation and selection of the proposals was based upon which vendor best understood the requirements, best met the requirements, and had the best price. Project Management: The cloud-based project required a different project management approach utilizing agile design and development. Focus was on business and security requirements rather than technical infrastructure implementation. The rapid deployment shortened the IT project, resulting in less resources expended to deliver the project and a quicker and more predictive time-to-value. Since CCC is a small department with nine IT staff supporting approximately 2,000 users in 24 locations statewide, CoRe was managed by a part-time CCC Project Manager in conjunction with a Jobscience Project Manager. Cost: The one-time project implementation cost was $52, and the five-year cloud subscription cost (hosting, maintenance, and support) is $158, Communications Plan: The communications plan includes outreach to places with access to young adults. CCC recruiters conduct presentations at high schools, colleges, and community based organizations. In addition, recruiters reached out to the California Employment Development Department and participated in job fairs. The plan includes the use of QR codes on brochures and internet search engines. Solution Architecture: CoRe is a cloud-based managed service provided by Jobscience, built on the Salesforce.com platform. The use of cloud services changed CCC s IT deployment model to a business as a service approach. The innovation trajectory of the cloud delivered operational and business process changes to the CCC. It changed the way the Recruitment Unit operates and the way CCC serves its constituents. The agility, flexibility, and adaptability of the cloud platform provides the CCC with a framework for rapid deployment of solutions capable of meeting business needs as they change. Accessibility: The CoRe application is in compliance with California Government Code Section 11135, which requires compliance with Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act. In addition, these sites are in compliance with the W3C (WCAG) Levels One and Two guidelines, as well as five additional requirements identified by the California Department of Rehabilitation. pg. 4 June 2, 2014
5 Security: With the implementation of CoRe, security has increased due to the strict Information Security Office security standards that the cloud provider must adhere to, in addition to the regular security audits. CoRe meets Federal and State security regulations and privacy policies. Section 4: Significance of the Project Job creation and youth education are two key drivers of California s economic growth. The CCC program develops a diverse population of young adults and veterans (many from underserved communities, such as the homeless, unemployed, or economically disadvantaged) to provide a well-trained, highly employable candidate pool for California s employers. CoRe is significant because it has allowed the CCC to meet aggressive recruitment goals for expanded programs. Outreach has significantly improved; the CCC can now receive applications from previously difficult-to-reach potential candidates. Real time and more efficient handling of information equates to faster recruitment and enrollment, thereby filling many vacancies that in the past may not have been filled. Improvements to Government Operations: Expanded Reach: Utilizing the enhanced capabilities of a web-based and mobile compatible system, which most notably eliminates the need for in-person applications and provides the ability for youths to conveniently apply online, increased the candidate pool significantly. Best Value for the State: The five-year total cost of ownership for the selected cloudbased solution is 70 percent less than the cost of a custom application or commercial off-the shelf system. Rapid deployment: This was a Fast Track project. The urgency to replace the dying legacy system, coupled with the need to increase enrollment initiated by program expansions, necessitated the immediate adoption of a new system. This was accomplished through the implementation of a managed service without losing the flexibility to implement additional features in later phases. Enhanced Security: CoRe meets Federal and State security regulations and privacy policies. Efficient Resource Utilization: The automation of manual processes frees the CCC s limited staff to refocus on productive recruiting activities, such as outreach and orientation, and candidate interviews, evaluation, and placement. Business Analytics Capabilities: The management information provided through the enhanced data capture and reporting capabilities has increased the number of targeted demographic candidates. Innovation of Approach: The adoption of the managed, cloud-based solution represented an operational innovation for CCC. This was a dramatic shift from CCC s traditional Commercial-off-the-shelf or custom development approach for system implementation. It allowed the CCC to undertake a project that would otherwise be too risky to attempt. For instance, the project required a restructuring of the Recruitment Unit s business processes while simultaneously reducing the project implementation pg. 5 June 2, 2014
6 time frame (from an initial 12 months implementation to 4 months). The cloud solution improved the project s time-to-value, and lowered overall cost. Utilizing the Jobscience managed service to meet this Fast Track deployment proves that government can benefit from cloud-based managed services. Lessons Learned: At the end of the project, after final acceptance, a lessons-learned session was conducted with the participation of all CCC and Jobscience stakeholders. The lessons-learned session identified aspects of the project that went well and those that needed improvement. These lessons-learned are already been used as a reference for the new CCC Corpsmember Management System (C³) project and will provide similar benefits to other state entities seeking to replace legacy systems and/or use cloud-based solutions. NASCIO Priorities: The CoRe project addresses many of NASCIO s State CIO Priorities for 2014, including Cloud Services and Budget and Cost Control. While cloud computing has been steadily gaining market share and viability in the private sector, there is a very slow adoption of cloud-based managed services for mission critical systems in the public sector. The Department s first significant managed service deployment substantiates that mission critical legacy systems can be successfully replaced by a secure, reliable, and inexpensive cloud-based solution with faster time-tovalue. CCC has received calls from a number of other state agencies who wish to develop and deploy cloud-based solutions and desire to learn about the CCC s implementation methods. Beneficiaries of the Project: The youth of California and the state s taxpayers are the largest beneficiaries of CoRe. More young adults have access to the life changing opportunities offered by CCC. The citizens of Califonria also benefit from the implementation of CoRe as the system has been a wise use of taxpayer money due to: 1) The inherent efficiencies and program effectiveness it has introduced into CCC, and 2) The increased quantity of valuable workers available to employers in the state. Section 5: Benefit of the Project Benefits of CoRe: CoRe has already proven to be responsive to changes caused by new government mandates, most recently with the Proposition 39, drought expansions, and changing operational needs. There has been enthusiastic acceptance of CoRe by CCC s government and non-government partners. Indeed, the California Employment Development Department, high schools, community colleges, and many of the CCC s partner community based organizations are promoting CoRe to their constituents and stakeholders. Some of the benefits realized by CoRe include: Youths have an easy-to-use, highly accessible, and secure method of submitting applications. Current Corpsmembers participating in testing stated, I wish this were here when I applied! In the first three months of operation, CCC received 2,494 new applicants, which is over 15 times the number of applications pre-core. Youths benefit from much faster placement which, in many cases, has reduced the time for placements from many months to a matter of days. pg. 6 June 2, 2014
7 CCC management benefits from real-time information and easily retrievable critical metrics, such as: Recruiter performance Candidate demographics (profiles are easily identifiable so that the homeless, veterans, and other targeted demographics can be contacted and placed in the program) Geographic responsiveness and performance allows management to focus efforts in lower-performing areas Success of media outreach activities (e.g., candidates state how they learned about the portal when they apply) Application flexibility allows CoRe administrators to make modifications as operational needs require and/or evolve. Automated tracking of communications between recruiters and candidates has reduced communication lapses and allowed recruiters to pursue more productive recruitment activities. Aligns with California s Green Initiative by reducing environmental impacts and greenhouse gases in the elimination of paper-based and transportation-intensive processes. CoRe has an Equal Employment Opportunity compliance function that captures and tracks demographic information in a compartmentalized fashion so that such information cannot be viewed by recruiters and is not linked to specific candidates. Aggregated data is beneficial for legislative reporting. Recruitment improvements realized since the January 2014 implementation include: Reduced time to place candidates into CCC programs Enhanced communications between recruiters and candidates by using the online portal Reduced human error due to automated tracking of demographics and open positions Decreased time and cost related to recruitment Increased enrollment of veterans, unemployed, and other target demographics Increased security and privacy due to highly secure technical architecture and the implementation of personally identifiable information access protocols Metrics: The table below summarizes CoRe s impact: Metric/Average Three Month Period (February, March, April 2014) Pre-CoRe After CoRe Go- Live Quarterly Applications Homeless Tracked Per Month 10.4% Not Available 78 Veterans Tracked Per Month 6.2% Not Available 47 Candidates Without High School diplomas Not Available 396 Per Month 52% Sutter County 16.2% UE 0 4 pg. 7 June 2, 2014
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